What is your approach to photographing a wedding?
My first step is to meet with the couple so we can get to know each other. I want to understand your expectations of your wedding photos. What is your vision? As I show you my portfolios of weddings that I have photographed, I want to know what catches your eye and which ones are your favorite photos.
Is it easy for you to have your picture taken or do you absolutely hate it? Does one of you make funny faces in every photo? Do you need help sorting out how to stand when I take your portraits? Or, are you a natural — and always have been?
Would you like family members and the wedding party photographed? Is it important for you to enjoy your cocktail hour and how much (or how little) time do you want to spend time taking portraits? Do you love B&W or do you want all color images?
How do you feel about food pictures? We discuss the wedding venue. What’s special about the venue? Do you have a favorite spot for your pictures or would you like me to recommend a few locations nearby?
You tell me and I listen. Every wedding that I photograph — and every couple that I photograph — is unique and that is really when the process of photographing a wedding begins.
My next step is to visit the venue(s) at the time of the day that the wedding will take place. This provides me with an idea of what natural light might be available. Similarly, I study the interior to determine if I need to bring additional lighting to supplement what is provided by the venue. I also use this time to scout nearby locations for couple portraits.
ON THE DAY OF THE WEDDING, I approach a wedding as if I were shooting a film. I arrive early to photograph the environment and capture other details that contribute to the story. As guests arrive, I observe closely. Who are the key characters? What’s the story? Who has relationships with whom? As the wedding progresses, I watch people and begin to photograph their interactions with others.
What equipment and lighting do you bring to the wedding?
The cameras in my bag are: Canon Digital SLR 5D Mark III with a 28-70 mm 2.8 lens; a second Canon 5DMark III with an 85 mm 1.2 portrait lens or a 70-200mm 2.8 Telephoto; a Leica M9 with a 50 mm 1.0 Noctilux lens or a 35 mm Summicron 2.0 lens. Other Canon lenses in my bag are 100mm 2.8 Macro; a 35-16mm 2.8 wide-angle lens and a fisheye lens. All of these cameras shoot in the digital RAW format.
In general, I prefer to use natural light. Once the sun sets however, it is generally necessary to use flash when photographing people’s faces in a low-light, party setting. I bring three Canon 600 Flashes and two light stands — to be used only if the venue’s lighting needs to be enhanced. I make every effort to ensure that any additional lighting is not intrusive.